…’Then I go and spoil it all by
Saying something stupid like I Love You’…
Love was a stupid thing and Nikhil had absolutely nothing to do with that, nothing at any cost, then why the hell was he feeling funny at the proximity this plain girl was offering. He couldn’t quite understand how one could feel so different with her, when from a year back all he remembered of her were a pair of big, brown eyes. The occasional mails were a formality but at that moment Nikhil could not read his own mind that could be such a botheration at times. Why the hell does this woman need to be the way she was at that moment? She gave a hoot to the world and exuded a warmth that could soften the hardest of icebergs. Slightly tipsy by then and free of all her inhibitions Nikhil could almost compare Shalini to a mermaid, which he sincerely believed to exist. She had shed all the curtains and was now on her own exploring the new depths of this vast ocean.
He had wanted to stay as far as possible from this mystery called Shalini but he could feel that he could not quite help himself in spite of all his effort. Instinctively and as if driven by some magnetic force he was finding himself next to her from time to time.
‘Why the hell are you looking at me as I I’ve just descended from some other planet. I’ve been noticing this throughout the evening…well almost!” enquired Shalini in a slightly slurred voice. What could he say to that? He knew that Shalini understood how he felt about her a year back, how could he now tell her that he felt differently. In only a span of 5/6 hours feelings don’t change – specially for Nikhil. So he decided to ignore the question that actually intrigued him. Why was he staring at her? Had she become so beautiful that he couldn’t take his eyes off her or was he just trying to find what had transformed her? Or was he simply trying to gauge the reasons for his own persistent discomfort through the entire length of the evening?
Everything irritated him – Why the hell did Uday suggest coming there? Why the hell did he agree to come when the last 3 hours before that had been equally uncomfortable for him? Why the hell was she there, then? Even Preeti was there! He suddenly realized that over the entire evening the existence of this ‘Transformation Personified’ had made him so conscious that he had hardly considered the presence of anybody else. He wanted to leave that moment but couldn’t – he knew he was in for trouble.